Ousmane Dembélé's agent has leapt to the defence of his young client after a recent barrage of criticism, and insists that Barcelona are delighted with their record signing.
The French international started the season in good form but his performances seem to have regressed and Dembélé was hauled off in Barcelona's 1-1 draw with Inter in the Champions League after a shambolic performance.
The likes of Liverpool and Arsenal have been credited with interest in the player in the last few months, and Dembele's situation at Barcelona does suggest that speculation will ramp up in the coming weeks - as the January transfer window approaches.
However, the Frenchman's agent, Moussa Sissoko, told RMC Sport, as reported by the Daily Mail, that he has had direct contact with the club and insisted that the Barcelona hierarchy are pleased with Dembélé - despite the speculation.
He explained: "I had Eric Abidal (Barcelona director) on the phone, he's very happy with Ousmane, he told me he's training well. There are really no question to ask ourselves right now."
Sissoko went on to say that his client is reacting well to criticism he's been receiving: "Ousmane's not reacting too badly. He knows how to shut out that criticism, especially when it's unfounded. Having said that, he knows how to use it when it's not, to react in the best way possible on and off the pitch."
However, Sissoko doesn't understand why his client is receiving such harsh criticism. He added: "Ousmane is 21, plays for Barcelona, one of the biggest clubs in the world. He's had a super start to the season scoring six goals and two assists.
"I don't understand all the criticism right now. We're aware there are things to improve, that's for sure. He's 21, it's normal. But Ousmane is very calm, he keeps working."
Dembélé's mixed performances for the Catalonian club have led people to question whether his career has somewhat stagnated since his big-money move from Borussia Dortmund, but his agent was quick to use Dembélé's recent call-up to the French national team to refute these claims.
He said: "Not at all. Ousmane keeps working, he's at a big club, he's in the national team, and Didier Deschamps keeps calling him up. The national team coach reacts to everything that is said, but I'm certain he likes Ousmane a lot, otherwise he wouldn't pick him.
"He's right on regarding the player's behaviour and their performances, so if Ousmane is with the France team now, it's that he deserves it."
Didier Deschamps basically said Ousmane Dembele is known for turning up late and making up excuses for his unprofessional behaviour. Maybe those stories about the player are true and just because you like him, it doesn’t mean there is an agenda at play.— Andrew Gaffney (@GaffneyVLC) November 12, 2018
It is clear that Dembélé has bags of potential, but he has so far failed to live up to the hype that his €105m fee demands. With all of Barcelona's players fit, the Frenchman struggles to get regular first team football as Philippe Coutinho and Lionel Messi both outperform Dembélé regularly.
However, the French winger is still young and there should certainly be an element of patience when dealing with his progress as a player.
Barcelona next face a mouth-watering fixture away to Atlético Madrid after the international break. Ernesto Valverde's side are currently just one point above their opponents and Atlético could go top of the table with a win.